Saturday, July 24, 2010

The 4th Trusted Name in News

So, as I do about 2 hours of cardio a day at my gym, I spend those 2 hours watching CNN since that's the only 24 hour news station they have. I have to say, I thought their coverage of the Sherrod case was despicably one sided.

Ok, let's start at the beginning. The whole incident happened because the NAACP passed a resolution condemning the Tea Party for being racist, sparked over a racist post from a guy that wasn't even a member of the Tea Party. This, at around the same time mainstream journalists are caught through something like leaked emails(JournoList-gate), admitting that they falsely accuse Conservatives of being racists to try and protect Obama. I have to say that again. Mainstream journalists admitted to blatantly advocating lying about Conservatives... these are professional journalists admitting to lying about Conservatives and calling them racists without any justification.

So this one Conservative blogger, Andrew Breitbart, gets a tape sent to him by an unknown source of a woman, Shirley Sherrod, giving a speech at an NAACP event in which she justifies racially discriminating against white people. Breitbart posts the video on his website citing hypocrisy--ie, members of the NACCP shouldn't be calling others racist when people like Sherrod admit to racism at NAACP events. Did Breitbart take a clip out of context or did he trust his source and just pass on the video as it was sent to him assuming it was a fair summery of the event? We don't know. If Breitbart had the whole clip and edited it down to make it appear like something it wasn't, than he's an idiot. He should have known the full tape would get out and it would backfire. So he's either an idiot, or he was set up.

But the bottom line is, all the guy did was take a video recording of a publicly given speech and put it up on his website. Youtube has thousands of political videos where people have done the same thing. There's videos taken out of contexts of Obama "admitting he's a Muslim." Obama misspoke. Another video has Mrs Obama "admitting" Barack was born in Kenya. Again, those are taken out of context by people purposely trying to make these people look like they're saying something else. People, on both sides, do it to be cute, funny, idiots, who knows. But it's common.

The difference here is the Sherrod video went viral and the White House, NAACP, and Department of Agriculture of Georgia all reacted to the clip and made a bad decision based on it. Sherrod was forced to resign before the story even made it on the news. I realise some idiots are blaming Fox here, but let's not forget the facts here. She was asked to resign and had resigned *before* Fox ever aired the story.

Now, keep in mind, the NAACP had the full tape all along. The speech, after all, was given at their event and they, instead of retrieving that tape from their archives first, decided to throw Sherrod under the bus, THEN look at the full tape the next day.

So Sherrod got forced out, and has since been made into a hero of sorts by all the news networks trying to get a human interest story out of it. Obama and the NAACP screwed up. They wanted to kill the story before it even hit the news and they did so without all the facts. Mistakes happen, and they've since apologized in their own ways and tried to make things right. Cool. If Obama makes a mistake, and fixes it right after, I'm totally cool with that. So I have nothing bad to say about that part of it.

But this is not the story that CNN is running with. CNN is turning this into a story of Andrew Breitbart ruining the life of a good person and using lies and deception to do it. Over the passed several days on watching CNN coverage over this story--and they've been covering it non stop--not once have I seen them mention a single time that this was a result of a tit for tat war between the NAACP and the Tea Party. Don't you think that's kind of important? Don't you think painting this story as some crazy right wing conservative nut job that "randomly" targeted some poor innocent, saintly women who just wanted to help people, is pretty dishonest if you're not going to at least mention why it started? It gets worse.

Then they had on this guest author, Andrew Keen, talk about what legislative actions should be taken against conservatives that spread lies on the internet. At this point, the host, Kyra Phillips, should have reminded him that it's only in totalitarianist regimes that the governments crack down against people that speak out. That crap doesn't fly in America. We have something called freedom here. Tell 'em, Kyra! But no, that's not what she says. She went along with everything that nut job was saying. Then after this horribly one sides piece portraying Sherrod as this innocent, saintly woman who was victimized by some evil, malicious right wing conservative liar for no other reason than pure evil reasons, went on to say that it's only honest news stations like CNN and the mainstream media that present the truth and that the others lie(implying that Fox only tells lies). I'm thinking, ok, she's going to say something about what a ridiculous, childish statement that was. I mean, anyone that honestly thinks there are news stations that are unbiased or that it's even possible to be unbiased is an idiot. But no, she was completely onboard with everything the guy said. Then after she actually advocated the government should censor the internet(an incredibly frightening thought) because of those slanderous Republicans that slander the good name of our fine President(not the words she used, but you know she was blaming the Right), they actually had the gall to transition to the next story about Netroots. She actually had a smile on her face as she talked about the fine, good honest Liberal bloggers(the kind that invent lies about how the Tea Party is racist) that make up the Netroots community and their convention in Las Vegas.

Well, I was stunned. I can't believe all the crap I hear about Fox News not really being news when CNN pulls such irresponsible, one sided crap pieces like that steaming pile. Atleast when Fox News first covered the story, before the full tape came out, they had several panelists give opposing views like "maybe the tape is out of context." It was balanced. And that's a big reason why Fox has the highest ratings now.

I read an article on the Huffington Post recently that said that CNN has to stop using the slogan "The most trusted name in news," when their ratings have caused them to slip to 4th place among cable news. Ouch, 4th place. Uh, how many cable news stations are there anyways? Not that many.

In either case, this whole story is silly on all angles and it made everyone look bad. No one "won" this fight. Personally, we need to stop throwing around the racism insult. It gets misused and abused so much that it's beginning to not mean anything anymore. There generally are racist people, and they're in every political party and organization. Singling out the racists in "the other guys" is silly and leads us nowhere. Singling people out for being racists, is fine. But don't drag their organization into it if there's no link.

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